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Galahad - Seas Of Change CD (album) cover

SEAS OF CHANGE

Galahad

 

Neo-Prog

4.19 | 114 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars One long 42+ minute song--and what a song! This is a Neo Prog masterpiece in the IQ/Pendragon vein! But this is better. Way better, this is the best Neo Prog album I've heard since EDISON'S CHILDREN's The Final Breath Before November.

"Seas of Change" (42:43) The piece opens with ambient synth layers and treated flute setting up a spacey, latent energy atmosphere over which a "radio" voice speaks a few lines at a time. At 1:35 solo grand piano breaks the introductory spell, setting a kind of classical/symphonic scene, over which a cathedral-filling solo female voice sings some wordless vocalise. Beautiful, like the Alexandre Desplat pieces used in the last Harry Potter films. (10/10) At the three minute mark we shift into a kind of theatric, mediŠval section with pompous male vocal announcing the upcoming play from the "future." This is followed by harpsichord and harp and, then, piano sounds with Gregorian voice--all keyboard generated. Radio voice "play-by-play" seems to be covering the rising tension and decay of national government. At 6:23 Galahad lead singer Stu Nicholson enters for the first time to start singing his bard-like version of the eery tidings happening. "Bring it on," he says before wailing solo guitar seems to keen our plight. At 8:15 comes the first breakout of true rock fullness--a nice section with some excellent deep bass notes and matching organ and guitar chord progressions in an odd time signature. Great instrumental section! (10/10) At the ten minute mark there is another shift--into a slow, panning percussive synth bouncing around the background while winds and synths take turns filling the soundscape with incidentals and arpeggios. Drums introduce another section at 11:30 as "La-la-la-las" set up the next vocal section of the story. Great support for Stu's vocal. The part of this section is simple as the section follows the ABACAB structure of a pop song. (9/10) At 15:05 there is another break in which a radio play-by-play catches us up to speed. The music then amps back up into the full force of the previous section before suddenly breaking into a new section with acoustic guitar strumming providing the foundational fabric for Stu's next section--the "Smoke" section. Sounds quite a bit like a Peter Jones vocal on Colin Tench's albums: theatric. Nice drums as the music thickens with volume and intensity behind Nicholson's vocal. (8/10) At 18:10 we switch back to a familiar heavier riff, with low end dominating over the organ and excellent cymbal play. Another slight shift at 18:57 into an angrier section about consensus (or the lack thereof). (9/10) At 20:05 we again break for a staticky radio update. Great sequenced synth background support for Stu's higher octave vocal. Staccato choral vocals sing the next section over a hard-driving, heavier section. Another radio update is followed by an excellent synth solo over the heavy, choral section. (9.5/10) At the 24 minute mark there is a break for a long synth and organ interlude before the next radio update occurs. Nice. (5/5) Then, at 25:20, begins the intro to the "Dust" section with its strumming acoustic guitar and return of the soprano female vocalise. By 25:45 we are into the full sound of the song with its catchy throbbing beat and swirling soloing synth. Stu's vocal here is kind of laid back as he sings about the vengeance the planet is serving to the smug liars running our race into climate catastrophe. The section that begins at the 28 minute mark, the second part of "Dust," is the album's only truly weak link (both lyrically and in its IQ familiarity), though the lead guitar work is wonderful. (8/10) At 34:40 another "radio" interlude pre-empts another shift in the song thread, this one singing about "danger," "trust," and "faces." (8.5/10) At 39:18 a cymbal crashes denotes the shift into the final slowed-down, piano-based section. Ambience and atmosphere seem burgeoning with potential energy--as if ready to burst forth in another foray into hard-drive. But then Stu enters and calms and quells any thoughts of rebellion with his smooth voice and words. The true finisher is the female singer performing the vocalise to the end. (9.5/10)

A five stars; a masterpiece of Neo Prog music!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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